VIDEO // Dodon — Kremlin's agent in South-East Europe
Moldovan president Igor Dodon, the most controversial political figures in the south-east Europe, should be easely named “Kremlin’s spokesman”. Just read what he have said in russian Duma about illegal military presence from the Transnistrian region of Moldova.
Speech by the President of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Igor Dodon, in the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Dear Mr. President of the State Duma of the General Assembly of Russian Federation,
Dear State Duma deputies,
Allow me to thank you for the opportunity that you have offered me to speak from the State Duma tribune, in my capacity as President of the Republic of Moldova, and to express my position on the issues of the development of the relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation and the current processes that target the interests of our countries and peoples, as well as the opportunities that I see to give a real content to the strategic partnership between our countries.
First of all, I would like to say that the Russian Federation was, is and will be the strategic partner of the Republic of Moldova. No one will succeed in destroying the fraternal, spiritual, cultural, economic and friendship relations our peoples have built over the centuries.
I confirm that, at political level, we are doing our best to maintain and to strengthen this partnership. During my recent official visit to the Russian Federation, I thanked once again the President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting, for his support to Moldova and its citizens.
You all know that we have a very good communication at the political level, at the presidential level. Unfortunately, we haven’t had this kind of communication lately, for the past year and a half, at parliamentary leadership and at governmental levels. However, on presidential and regional levels, we are doing everything possible to fix what the Parliament and the Government don’t do. First of all, the problem comes from the Moldovan Parliament and Government.
I talked with Veaceslav Victorovich and I would like to thank you for the openness of all the Russian Federation state institutions. We feel this dialogue and we feel the openness of the discussions for finding solutions of those issues that we point on the agenda. A big thank you for your openness.
Development issues of bilateral interstate relations will shape the agenda of the Moldovan and Russian presidents' dialogue from now onwards too. I am confident that in the near future, following the parliamentary elections in Moldova, the consolidation of the Moldovan-Russian ties will be one of the most important priorities in the Parliaments and Governments of our countries.
The history of Moldovan-Russian relations embraces many centuries. As early as the end of the 15th century, under the reign of the great ruler of Moscow, Ivan III of Russia, and the Moldovan ruler, Stephen the Great, the relations between our peoples were based on the unique Orthodox faith, on mutual friendship and respect. These traditions had been continued during the 17th-18th centuries by the Tsar Aleksei Mihailovich and the Moldovan rulers, Vasile Lupu and Gheorghe Stefan, and later, by the first Emperor of Russia, Peter the Great, and the eminent Moldovan ruler, scholar and enlightener, Dmitrie Cantemir.
The outstanding illuminists, Nicolae Milescu Spătaru, Alexandru Sturdza and Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu Bodoni, contributed considerably to the development of the relations between our peoples. In the history of Russia, many glorious pages had been written by the academician Lev Berg and the famous architect Alexei Sciusev, both originary from Moldova.
Almost 105 years of being part of the Russian Empire, from 1812, have taught our peoples to live in peace and good understanding, to build a commonwealth. During this period, there hadn’t been any rebellion against Russian authorities.
Our country mindfully keeps the memory of the great Russian poet, Aleksandr Puskin, of the Governor Ivan Inzov’s activity, of the Chișinau mayor, Karin Schmidt, of the architect Alessandro Bernardazzi and of the pedologist Vasili Dokuceaev.
In the second part of the 20th century, when the Republic was ruled by Ivan Ivanovici Bodiul, Moldova was transformed into a real blossomed country, well-known not only in the Soviet Union, but far beyond its borders. To this day, the „Sunny Moldova” expression is widely used in day by day life. We remember well that our capital, Chisinau, became a white city, „a stone flower”, as a result of the support given by all the soviet republics, that were then part of the USSR, and, firstly, by the Russian Federation.
A continuous historical memory that embraces centuries of common victories and heavy times lived together unites our peoples. On May 9, 2020, are marked 75 years since the victory of the Great Patriotic War over the fascism in Europe. Our people is one of the victorious peoples in this war. Hundreds of thousands of compatriots have been involved in the war, tens of thousands remained on the battlefield, the title "Hero of the Soviet Union" was given to 18 natives from Moldova. In 2019, the next year, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Moldova from the fascist invaders. We have already begun preparations for this important date, which will be celebrated in our country at a state level.
On August 27, 1991, the Republic of Moldova proclaimed its independence. Moldova, as an independent state, has been recognized by more than 160 countries in the world. During this period, the country became a member of global and panEuropean organizations, regionally and subregionally influent.
A decade later, in 2001, our countries signed, then ratified the Friendship and Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation, which established a new benchmark in the multicentennial history of Moldovan-Russian relations. Our countries have agreed to strengthen the brotherhood friendship and develop a strategic partnership that responds to the vital interests of Moldovan and Russian peoples.
The legal-contractual basis of today's Moldovan-Russian cooperation is based on over 150 documents signed at the interstate, intergovernmental and interinstitutional level. In all these documents, signed by the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation, the two sides have always strived to take into account the mutual interests in political, economic, social and humanitarian fields, in order to create a solid basis for cooperation between our countries.
By the way, regarding the humanitarian cooperation, I would like to note that almost all the population of the country, to a greater or lesser extent, knows Russian. More than one million Moldovan citizens consider Russian as a basic language in everyday communication. And the Russian language, in Moldova, got the status of language of interethnic communication. This is very important! And I want to say, as President, that we will defend it. Speaking Russian is an advantage for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. And, of course, we must study other languages as well, but the Russian language should keep its position as an international communication language in the Republic of Moldova.
The Moldovan-Russian Economic Forum that took place in Chisinau, in mid-September this year, showed that business circles in Russia and Moldova are interested in developing cooperation and joint projects. Due to the joint efforts of the Russian and Moldovan Presidents, between 2017 and 2018, the trade between our countries has increased, comparing to 2014-2016.
The Russian Federation, as an analysis of 27 years of independence of the Republic of Moldova, remains the most important direct economic investor, even though, for the last years, the Government has been actively trying to show that there are no positive outcomes in this direction. I want to say that there are results. Russia maintains its position as the most important foreign investor.
I am confident that by joint efforts we will be able not only to increase the mutual exchange of goods, but also to move our economic cooperation to a new, higher level of development.
In particular, I would like to thank you, the leadership of the Russian Federation, for the benevolent attitude towards over half a million Moldovans who are temporarily or permanently on the territory of Russia. I also want to express my special gratitude for solving a number of issues related to lifting the restrictions previously imposed to Moldovan citizens by Russia's migration services.
With the outlined orientations for our cooperation, I want us today to particularly contribute to the activation of the inter-parliamentary cooperation. The Moldovan Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Russian Federation, constituted in the Parliament of Moldova under the leadership of the President of the Party of Socialists, Mrs. Zinaida Greceanii, is the most numerous. This is an interesting fact. Other parties don’t want to come to Russia. However, when the Euroasian Union was created, everyone wanted to come. And the largest friendship group is with the Russian Federation, and not with the European Union, nor with Romania or with other countries, but with the Russian Federation.
In the meantime, the leadership and the majority of the deputies of the current Parliament of Moldova artificially delay the development of the existing potential. Unfortunately, not everyone in Chisinau has understood that the national interests of the country should not be determined according to party and false ideological interests.
However, I would like to note that there are countable days left for the current Parliament. The mandate of the current Parliament is ending the next week, on 30th of November. And, in the near future, I think the situation will change.
The plenary reviving of the inter-parliamentary dialogue, as well as the resumption of the activity of the Intergovernmental Commission for the commercial and economic cooperation of Moldova and Russia, will significantly boost the development of the strategic partnership between our countries.
As I noticed, unfortunately, the inter-parliamentary activity is missing at the inter-parliamentary ruling level. The last meeting of the Committee of the economic cooperation was held in November 2016, two years ago. All these two years, our bilateral relations with the Russian brother people, unfortunately, have been surviving only at the dialogue level between President of Moldova and different important institutions of the Russian Federation. On one hand, this is good, but on another hand, there should be a parliamentary and governmental support.
I am sure that these and many other tasks will be fundamental for the new Parliament and Government of the Republic of Moldova, which will be formed following the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on February 24, 2019.
Thus, combining the efforts of the President of the country, of the Parliament and of the Government of Moldova will be the key to a successful and strategic partnership with the Russian Federation.
As President of the Republic of Moldova, I am confident of the need to step firmly towards strengthening the economic ties between our countries, which provide a solid basis for a successful political dialogue and a strategic partnership between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation. In order to give concrete substance to the policy of the Moldovan-Russian relations and strategic partnership, I consider it appropriate to prepare and sign a joint declaration on the strategic partnership and to create a joint committee on a high political level, which will provide a platform for multilateral discussions on strategic issues.
Ladies and Gentleman,
We see that Russia, as one of the world powers, exerts a substantial worldwide influence on global processes in the global security field, on the formation of fair international order issues and on the multipolar world. In this context, we consider that we should focus our efforts to respond effectively to the current challenges and threats to the existence of the Moldovan state.
In the circumstances of a growing imbalance of international political and economic relations at global and regional level, all of us need to identify ways to stabilize them.
I would like to reiterate the interest of the Republic of Moldova in building a harmonious and balanced foreign policy in order not to become victims to the geopolitical confrontation between the East and the West.
I am confident that both Moldova and Russia are fully aware of their responsibility for strengthening stability and security in Europe, to maintain a civic peace and interethnic concord, striving to make a strong contribution to create a more efficient and sustainable security system in Europe and worldwide.
Indeed, we feel a prevailing need to strengthen the strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, to develop relations with the CIS and Eurasian Economic Union countries. By the way, this year, Moldova has become the first country to gain the observer status within the Eurasian Economic Union.
Based on the application submitted last year, I’ve written a memorandum with the EAU. I’ve submitted the demand to receive the observer status and, on May 14th, this year, in Sochi, we received the status of observer. And the next week I will participate, for the first time, as President to the Parliamentary Assembly of the EAU. It is a very interesting field for us and we will further develop our cooperation with the new integration project of the enlargement of CIS.
The task I have as President of the country is to create a single rule of law, polyethnic, democratic, neutral, where every citizen should have be given the right to an adequate standard of living and the confidence in the next day. This is what most of the citizens of Moldova wish for.
We are convinced that the Republic of Moldova can be and develop as a country, as well as to complete the process of unification of the country, including preserving its constitutional status of permanent neutrality.
In the contemporary world, a major importance is given to the international security issues. Any unbalanced action and attempt to deviate the Republic of Moldova from its status of neutrality could lead to serious destabilization in the country and could leave Moldova in an area of a permanent risk for decades, first and foremost in terms of national and regional security.
During its period of independence, the Moldovan people consistently supported the constitutional provision on the permanent neutrality of the Republic of Moldova.
I would like to mention that the general opinion of most people is that they don’t agree with the neutrality of the Republic of Moldova and with joining NATO. It is a key position of the most Moldovan citizens.
My firm position is that the constitutional status of permanent neutrality must be strengthened and developed, and we should also obtain its international recognition, which will undoubtedly contribute to the sustainable development and prosperity of the Republic of Moldova as a modern state.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the same time, in this troubled world we strongly need safeguards based on international law. It is necessary to guarantee the inviolability of the external borders and to ensure the security of the development of the neutral state of the Republic of Moldova. I honestly believe that ensuring security and Moldova's development perspectives is impossible without a peaceful and fair Transndniestrian settlement recognized in the "5+2" format, where the Russian Federation is a mediator and guarantor of the all-encompassing political settlement of this issue.
In this context, I would like to draw attention to the issue of the peacekeeping mission that has been working successfully for many years in the Republic of Moldova on both sides of the Dniester. Among the main results of the peacekeeping mission, achieved during the last 26 years, the following can be mentioned: the peace atmosphere was restored, conditions for the political negotiation process were created, no crisis, which would have led to the use of weapons between the parties of the conflict, was allowed. That is why, how much the critics don’t try to strive at home and abroad, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova know very well that peace on the Dniester has been restored thanks to the ongoing peacekeeping operation. I would like you to know that this is the position of most citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
I am confident that as long as no sustainable and viable political solution to the Transdniestrian issue is identified, as long as a mechanism of maintaining peace and stability in the post-conflict period is not agreed, only a populist or provocative person could talk about the end of the ongoing peacekeeping operation, his aim being the destabilization of the situation in the Republic of Moldova and throughout the region.
We have a constructive communication with the Transdniestrian leadership. Since the beginning of my mandate as a President, I have already had four meetings with the Transdniestrian leader, Vadim Krasnoselski. During the meetings we had this year, in April and September, we discussed in detail how we could ensure the stable running of the Joint Control Commission, which operates in the security zone. We also expressed our firm support for the mixed mission of peacekeepers on the Dniester and expressed our satisfaction for the implementation of the Package of Measures set up on eight points for strengthening confidence, a document coordinated as early as January 4, 2017, during our first meeting.
I would like to notice that together with our partners we have succeeded to find solutions for some issues that haven’t been solved for the last 25 years. We established a mechanism to recognize the university diplomas. We had an agreement of neutral number plates for the transport. We’ve made first steps in finding solutions for the issues of the Moldovan-Transdniestrian cooperation, issues that haven’t been solved for the last 20 years. And this is, for sure, a result of the dialogue we have built.
At the same time, I would like to underline the call of re-including, in the near future, on the agenda of the "5+2" negotiation format, the discussion on the possible model of political settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict. We should clearly understand that Moldova has no future without Transdniestria. And Transdniestria also doesn’t have a future without Moldova.
I said it not once: we are on the same boat, Chisinau and Tiraspol, and we should decide either we sail together, or we sink together. And we don’t have misunderstandings between our people, we don’t have hate, which you can see, unfortunately, in other conflict regions. We must agree at the political level on the way we will continue to live.
And I would like to remark again that we should find the solution, understanding that there is no future without each other. We are stronger with Transdniestria and Transdniestria will be much stronger with us. That’s why I very much hope that soon we can consolidate and achieve the historical solution of the country’s unification.
I believe that Russia did its best to maintain peace in our country, so that Moldova can, in the near future, achieve its historical chance to develop as an independent, sovereign, territorially integral state, with internationally recognized borders.
I honestly believe that Russia is making efforts to build along with Moldova mutually benefic inter-state strategic relations in the interest of our peoples.
Of course, we will build our country and our future, based on our national interests. We strive to develop a program for the development and modernization of Moldova for the next 15-20 years, but not together with someone against someone. This is very important.
This is what happened until not a long time ago, when we were put in front of choosing or-or, meaning that either you are with us or against us, I see it as a very damaging policy for the countries as the Republic of Moldova. We will develop balanced external policy.
I repeat my idea told at the International Economic Forum in Sankt-Petersburg in 2017: we do not want to play the role of a pawn in the geopolitical battles on the chess field. I am against to turning the Republic of Moldova into a gray buffer zone. We will not be friends with anyone, nor against Russia, nor against any other country or union of countries. This is the position of the President and of the overwhelming majority of citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
I would like to bring to your attention that intense consultations with our main international partners are taking place these days: Russia, USA, Germany, France, representatives of the European Union, OSCE and other interested participants. These consultations foresee the implementation, in relation with the Republic of Moldova, of the concept of balanced foreign policy, based on fixed neutrality, rather than of the "or-or" concept, which ultimately should lead to the accomplishment on a national scale of the task - the consolidation and the sustainable development of a single rule of law, polyethnic, democratic, neutral state.
In my capacity of President, I will make every effort Moldova, placed between West and East, to become a successful example of West-East cooperation in supporting the development of the Republic of Moldova as a single and territorial consolidated state.
In this context, I suggest, and hope for Russia’s support, to organize a high-level international conference on Moldova in 2020, the results of which would make a significant contribution to strengthening European security and would initiate the practical implementation of a global project to build a common space of stability and development. My firm confidence is that the Russian Federation can become one of the key participants of this conference.
Now, Moldova is about to adopt a number of important and responsible decisions that require both internal consolidation and multilateral international support.
Finally, I would like to mention that I hope to have your support and help in implementing the Action Program, which we have adopted together with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. During my visit to Moscow, we agreed to proclaim the year 2019 - Moldova's Year in Russia, and the year 2020 – Russia’s Year in Moldova, to support and develop all kinds of cultural and humanitarian links between the peoples of our countries.
Once, we had a common country and many of us, many of the people present in the hall, were born in the same country, in the Soviet Union. Of course, now we have our own national interests, based on the sovereignty and independence of our countries.
Of course, each of us will defend them and we will defend them. And we will always make the first step and me, as President, and citizen of the Republic of Moldova, will start from our national concern.
But let’s say it frankly, we don’t have misunderstandings with you regarding many of our Moldovan interests. I see Moldova, in the future, in our national interests - this is a neutral country without NATO. Is anybody against it? I am sure there’s not.
I consider that the future of our country is a united, sovereign, powerful country. Don’t our Russian brothers want it for us? I am sure they want. I consider Moldova should be a country with high living standards. And, of course, we can talk about the Russian investors, which are prepared to invest billions in the economy of the Republic of Moldova, but there should be specific political guarantees. We’ve met with businessmen and they said: “Igor Pavlovich, we are ready to invest. But is there any assurance for our investments in your country? We are interested.” I am confident that everybody, including me, want to see Moldova as a multinational country. As I said, 1/3 of the population of the Republic of Moldova are Russian speaking. All Russians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians number 1/3 of the population. Don’t you want or don’t we want to live in peace in such a rich country where are so many nationalities? I am confident that all of you agree that Moldova should keep its own spiritual, christian values.
By the way, Moldova is the country with the highest percentage of christians. There are 98% of christians in Moldova. And we have a single church. We have similar values. I said in a speech, not a long time ago, the Moldavian christian church is a part of the Russian christian church. It has been so, it is now and it will be in future. I believe it so. And I am confident, dear friends, that you all agree with these priorities for the Republic of Moldova.
Our ancestors, grandfathers, fathers for centuries had been growing this friendly brotherhood. We should treasure it and give it to the next generation. Of course, there are many who wish to destroy this. Question: Will we be able to manage with that? My answer is yes. I hope your answer is the same.
Thank you very much for your attention.